Prior to growing our family, I never imagined we would be homeschoolers.  I had just always thought our kids would attend a traditional school like we had.  However, it was clear to us after a year home with Caleb, that he had some separation anxiety and sending him off to preschool or VPK would not benefit him emotionally.  Being that he was 4.5 years old, I knew that some type of instruction should begin at home.  With the support of my dear friend and China travel buddy, Lisa, I took the plunge and ordered a boxed Kindergarten curriculum.

I thought to myself, "It's kindergarten.  How can I mess it up?"  I knew I would need tremendous hand holding, so going with a box curriculum from Abeka was perfect.  And at the end of the year, we found ourselves hooting and hollering over our first successful year of homeschooling.

The next school year, we found that although we were okay with Abeka for language arts, we needed a change for math.  I decided I was confident enough to mix things up.  And I'm so glad I did.  Caleb soared with his new math program, Singapore Math.

After a second successful school year (and this with a newly adopted toddler at home), we knew we were sticking with it.  However, our third year found us going in a different direction.  I found myself inspired by Charlotte Mason's philosophy.  I loved the idea of using "living books" and building godly character.  By the end of our third year, we found ourselves immersed in Ambleside Online.  Not only is Caleb learning so much this way, but so is Madeline and so am I!

We currently school year round, with a much, much lighter load in the summer. I believe it's important that our children see that learning can take place all year long, including the summer.

Here's Caleb's 5th grade lineup:

Singapore 5B
Beast Academy 4B/4C/4D

Tales From Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
Pilgrim's Progress by Paul Bunyan
Parables From Nature by Margaret Gatty
Children of the New Forest by F. Marryat
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
The Heroes by Charles Kingsley
American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenburg

Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding Vol 2 by Dr. Bernard Nebel
Pagoo by Holling C. Holling
lots of nature study

An Island Story by H. E. Marshall
This Country of Ours by H. E. Marshall
A Child's History of the World by Virgil Hillyer

Michelangelo by Diane Stanley
Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Peter Vennema and Diane Stanley
Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daughtery


William Blake
Sara Teasdale
Hilda Conkling
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Hiawatha)

Artist study, Composer study, Hymn study using the Ambleside Online rotation

Other books we'll read for pleasure:

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Bears of Blue River by Charles Major
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
Caddy Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

And if there's still time, we'll get to a few others.

Here is Madeline's first/second grade  lineup:

Singapore 1A/1B

McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader (and Second Reader)
Writing Road to Reading by Ramona Spalding
1824 Blueback speller by Daniel Webster
additional library books
copywork for handwriting

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Nature Study/Science:
Building Foundations for a Scientific Understanding Vol 1 by Dr. Bernard Nebel
Among the Meadow People by Clara Dillingham Pierson
lots of nature study

Seven Little Sisters Who Lived on the Round Ball That Floats in the Air by Jane Andrews

She will join Caleb in our Ambleside online rotation for artist, composer and hymn study.

About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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